A separation typically precedes a divorce. But, in the state of Michigan, there is no such thing as a legal separation. This also means that couples do not have to be separated for a set period of time before filing for a Michigan divorce.
Once the divorce process begins, legal documents and interim orders will tell both parties where they and their children will live. Even though a couple is living apart, this is not considered a legal separation at any point. So is there any sort of legal option concerning separation from one’s spouse?
The Closest Thing to a Legal Separation in Michigan
In Michigan, separate maintenance agreements follow practically the same course as a divorce proceeding. This judgment essentially leaves a couple divorced from everything except the bounds of marriage.
Opting for a Judgment of Separate Maintenance in Michigan rather than a Judgment of Divorce in Michigan means that you cannot remarry. If you decide at a later date that you would rather be divorced completely, an entirely new case will need to begin and be carried out to complete a divorce.
Reasons for Choosing a Separate Maintenance Agreement
Why would anyone choose a separate maintenance agreement over a divorce? Often, the reason for going the route of the separate maintenance agreement is due to health care or religious reasons.
If one half of the couple is dealing with health issues and has concerns about losing their medical insurance, opting for a separate maintenance agreement instead may prevent the insurance they share with their spouse from being terminated. Keep in mind, however, that many employers are in the process of considering separate maintenance agreements as having the same effect as a Michigan divorce when it comes to health care benefits.
In some circumstances, if a person will be excommunicated from their church if they divorce, they may choose a separate maintenance instead, choosing to live apart from their spouse but remain legally wed.
The Intricacies of Separation and Divorce
Ultimately, nothing is simple when it comes to separate maintenance agreements or divorce, and an attempt to benefit from a marriage union while still having the “freedom” to live separately is not easily managed. If you would like to pursue a separation or divorce in Macomb County, Michigan, or simply have questions about the divorce process, contact Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC to schedule your no-cost initial interview.